Gary Payton Discusses George Karl, Playing Defense on 'The Starters'

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 6, 2017

CHICAGO - JUNE 5:  Gary Payton #20 of the Seattle SuperSonics discusses strategy with head coach George Karl in Game One of the NBA Finals against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on June 5, 1996 in Chicago, Illinois.  The Bulls won 107-90.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1996 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Gary Payton and George Karl spent seven seasons together with the Seattle SuperSonics, so The Glove is intimately familiar with the longtime NBA coach.

On Thursday, Payton discussed some of the controversial excerpts from Karl's upcoming book during an appearance on NBA TV's The Starters.

One of the main points Payton touched on revolved around Karl's controversial opinion that Carmelo Anthony and Kenyon Martin, whom he coached during his time with the Denver Nuggets, were tough to get along with because they didn't have fathers in their lives:

I didn’t really like the way he came at Carmelo and Kenyon Martin. You don't go into peoples' parents and things like that. There’s a lot of people that are struggling like that out here now. I've been around a lot of my friends that only had...a mother, not a father. That was something that was off limits that I didn't really like that he did.

Payton also shed light on how he and Karl confronted issues that cropped up during their shared time in the Pacific Northwest:

We bumped heads a lot. I cussed him out on the floor a lot. He cussed me back. But then when we brought coach Tim Grgurich in, that was our buffer. I talked to Tim a lot. And then when we didn't want to talk, Tim would tell us, 'Get in there, and get in that office.' Throw us a couple of beers in there, and we sat in there and we cussed each other out, and then all of a sudden, we were good.

The complete conversation can be viewed below, courtesy of NBA TV:


.@GaryPayton_20 joined @TheStarters to talk George Karl's new book and challenges of winning Defensive Player of the Year! https://t.co/a0Mbdw5b4M

Later, Payton broke down how difficult it is for point guards to win the Defensive Player of the Year award. In the 1995-96 season, he broke through and became the only floor general to capture the coveted hardware:

Impossible. It's too impossible. When I played in '96 and I won it, I could do a lot of things. Remember, hand-checking was there, a lot of hawking was there. ... I established my game from Day 1. I made referees understand that's the way I was gonna play. I was gonna be rough. I was gonna put my hands on it, and it let me get away with a lot of stuff.

The race for Defensive Player of the Year honors this season is underway, and the conversation should feature familiar names like Draymond Green and Rudy Gobert.

Considering the award has historically been dominated by imposing frontcourt presences, the smart money is on that trend continuing through 2017.


Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com and NBA.com.


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